David Chang is many things—a podcaster, a writer, a television personality, an entrepreneur, a husband, a father, an occasional and reluctant actor—but he’s also a chef. In fact, if you’re The Washington Post, you’d say he’s the chef of the decade. To wit, from a piece in the Post’s series on “Decade Influencers,” this one under the headline “Ramen, Noise and Rebellion”:
... Because so many of the developments that could be attributed to the 42-year-old Chang have become utterly banal by now, it’s easy to forget that he could be called the defining chef of the decade. If you’ve ever eaten pork buns, or fried Brussels sprouts with fish sauce—maybe you didn’t know they had fish sauce?—that is David Chang. If you’ve had ramen in a smaller city, circa 2014, that’s David Chang. If you’ve heard Notorious B.I.G. or LCD Soundsystem in a restaurant. If you’ve sat before an open kitchen, in a place with a minimalist, plywood aesthetic. If your neighborhood has a restaurant started by a young chef with an attitude, and an eclectic menu of whatever the hell he feels like cooking, all of those things are David Chang.
He also makes pretty darn good television shows. In his most recent—the Netflix joint Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner—Chang and four celebrity guests travel around the world, eating and talking and exploring places far, or not at all far, from home. He and Seth Rogen visit the latter’s hometown of Vancouver, getting really high, eating doughnuts and talking about everything from the nature of failure to the importance of engaging with cultures unlike your own. (They also, unsurprisingly, talk about weed; Chang tells me Rogen is “truly a savant of all things marijuana”). He wanders Los Angeles with Lena Waithe, travels to Cambodia with Kate McKinnon, and in what is, no joke, one of the most enjoyable and funny episodes of TV of the year, heads to Marrakesh with Chrissy Teigen. In all four places, terrific conversations and delicious-looking meals abound.
Chang asks his guests big questions about life and culture and parenthood and many, many other important things. I asked him if a hot dog is a sandwich. (I also asked him about Seth Rogen’s weed, but we’ve covered that base already.)
The Takeout: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
David Chang: I don’t know. Do you?
TO: No idea. I have asked so many people this question that I’ve lost all perspective.
DC: I think we’re going to have to consult a semantics or linguistics expert. Aren’t there more important questions to ask? But everyone asks! I’ll just say this: I like to eat hot dogs as much as I like to eat sandwiches.